July 6th, 2012
Do you ever wonder when a crisis happens or disaster strikes what happens to all the people who are directly impacted? I mean outside of primary medical needs, emergency services, first responders who all have their hands full at the time, who is there to support the average person, and for that matter, the first responders?
There are people all over who see a disaster strike and offer up goods and services, money and aid in an effort to help out, but that can be days away from being realized and often needs a delivery system or structure put in place to occur.
What about those agencies that provide ongoing day-to-day information in regards to personal safety, education and awareness about emergencies and disaster response at the community level?
This weeks Fantastic Friday goes to a huge group of unsung heroes that we don’t talk about enough. At least not in times of “normalcy”. Give a huge thanks to all those organization, but in particular, The Canadian Red Cross.
Very few of us know and understand how important the Canadian Red Cross is and how much work they do. We hear about them when there is a major event, disaster or global problem, but not so much at other times. That’s why I want to talk about them.
Red Cross delivers first aid/CPR and swimming and water safety programs. This summer, with temperatures soaring and families heading to the water to cool off, we have been advocating water safety messages to help families keep safe while having fun.
As a police officer, I have seen first hand that it doesn’t take a monumental event to dramatically change people’s lives. Something as simple as a house fire can be a personal disaster and the Canadian Red Cross is always ready to be there for those impacted.
A simple phone call is often all it takes to get volunteers and service providers where they are needed, when they are needed most. The response is always the same, “We’ll be there.”
I had the pleasure to work with the Canadian Red Cross on a personal and professional level and it never ceases to amaze me that when everyone else has left and gone home, the Canadian Red Cross is usually still there and not looking for the out, but looking for, “What else can we do to help?”
Other programs too that help families stay healthy and cared for – for example, did you know the Red Cross offers Meals on Wheels? Or that they have a program called HELP where individuals can borrow otherwise expensive medical equipment? And are you aware of the many Red Cross has a team of personal support workers and volunteer transportation drivers that provide help to those who are elderly or have disabilities?
Think about the massive heat wave that is happening right now, in Toronto, whenever there is a heat alert, volunteers go to specific neighbourhoods to help the city’s most vulnerable people to make sure they have water to stay hydrated.
The Canadian Red Cross brings a world of information, resource and know how to help but it’s not magical. It takes work, dedication and a commitment that few people truly understand. It also takes employees, support and volunteers.
A lot of people don’t realize that the Red Cross response during emergencies is made possible by more than 15,000 highly trained volunteers across the country. These volunteers help families affected by fires, flooding and in other situations of natural disaster or emergencies. They ensure that families have the basic necessities, such as food, shelter and clothing. You may remember the big fire at the Wellesley Street apartment. The Red Cross was there helping to ensure those residents who were evacuated had shelter and vouchers to purchase food and clothing because many left with just the clothes they were wearing.
That’s why I’m recognizing the Canadian Red Cross today because of the people. TO me they embody the idea of the #BeGreat mentality. It’s never about them, it’s always about others. I encourage you to take a look through the links to see what they do and more importantly, what you can do to help them. It’ easy for anyone to step up and be great when there is great need. It seems much more difficult when the need isn’t as great. Take the time now, figure out a way you can help out today, because tomorrow, it could be you that is in need of someone to take the time to pay it forward.
So do yourself a favour and learn more about the Red Cross. Here are some links that will help along the way.
Info on becoming a Red Cross volunteer: http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=021912&tid=001
Info on water/heat safety: http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=43607&tid=025
For more info on how Red Cross helps during times of disaster: http://www.redcross.ca/article.asp?id=33827&tid=001
The Twitter Team: www.redcross.ca/twitterteam